Monday, November 24, 2014

What the Bible Says and doesn’t Say about Homosexuality

 I just joined a Facebook group called “Liberal Evangelicals.” Unsurprisingly, several postings wrote positively of same-sex marriage (SSM). I therefore asked:

  • In view of the biblical testimony against homosexuality and the fact that the church has never affirmed homosexuality, what is the best Christian evidence in favor of SSM?
One responded:

  • I reject both of your premises. There is no biblical testimony against homosexuality and the Church did in fact perform SS unions in some parts of western Europe between the 5th and 8th centuries. The stark opposition to "sodomy" only began in fervor in the middle of the 14th century, when the Sodom story started being interpreted as a denunciation of male homosexuality.
Did some early churches perform SS unions? I had my doubts. However, his other claims were clearly erroneous.

Denying that Sodom had been destroyed because of homosexuality, many advocates cite Ezekiel 16:49:

  • Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
No mention of homosexuality! However, these advocates neglect to cite the next verse:

  • They were haughty and did an abomination before me. (49:50)
“Abomination” usually refers to sexual sin. Jude 6-7 is more explicit about Sodom’s sin:

  • And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
The respondent’s other claim - “there is no biblical testimony against homosexuality” - is directly contradicted by the evidence:

  • Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion. Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. (Leviticus 18:22-24)
  • If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:13-16)
  • Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened… Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:21-27)
  • Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (Cor. 6:9-11)
Besides these verses, there are many others that speak against homosexuality. How then can this respondent and many others deny the biblical teachings against homosexuality? Even more seriously, how can “evangelicals” misrepresent what God has uttered in His Scriptures?

Some have argued that Jesus would have received adulterers and homosexuals. Indeed, but He would also have required them to repent of their sins (Luke 13:1-5; John 8:1-11).

Sadly, we often confuse love with endorsement of questionable behavior. However, James had warned us to be hesitant about our endorsement of cultural trends:

  • You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:4-5)
As the Apostles had confessed, it is better to obey God rather than man! Another “evangelical” answered:

  • I would contend that the burden of evidence lies on those who argue that same-sex marriage, if consecrated by the church, is somehow offensive to God. 
Although he is right about the “burden of evidence,” I think that the evidence is there, and the burden now rests with such evangelicals.

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